Reece Walsh has revealed how Adam Reynolds has helped him keep more of cool head on the field in the wake of his suspension for swearing at a referee. Walsh copped a three-game ban earlier this season that saw him miss State of Origin III, after he was caught calling referee Chris Buttler a 'c***'.
Walsh claimed he was actually speaking to teammate Patrick Carrigan, but the judiciary didn't believe him and slapped him with the suspension. The 21-year-old has been in sublime form since returning from the ban, and revealed on Tuesday how he's managing his emotions on the field.
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"When 'Reyno' (Reynolds) sat out some of the games, he was in my ear a bit that the boys need me a little bit more than usual and I have to be calm and use my voice a bit more in the good areas, instead of blowing up," Walsh said ahead of Friday's qualifying final against the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium. "Sitting those three games out ... I was disappointed in that.
Reece Walsh & the Broncos contend that he was abusing teammate Pat Carrigan not the ref (he says ‘a player’ in his instagram post).
This new vision is very damning and will make that argument incredibly hard at the judiciary. I think he’s little chance of avoiding a ban. #NRL pic.twitter.com/0VWOQfV46T
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) June 26, 2023
"The role I play in the team is really infectious among the group, (with) the way I carry myself on the field. Being a spine member, people look at you and need to trust your voice, your decisions and everything that you do.
"Losing my head isn't the best thing for the team. I'm still young and I'm still learning and I'll probably still have some snaps in me every now and then. But I find myself pulling myself back a bit more and the leaders in the team are helping me in that area of my game a lot more."
The Broncos haven't beaten the Storm in their last 14 matches (including last week), and haven't won against Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium since 2009. But Walsh said he doesn't believe in hoodoos and is full of confidence the Broncos can turn the tide.
"We are not the same team that has (lost) whatever it is ... the past 14, or whatever everyone is tossing up," he said. "We know the team we are and the footy we can play. We know we are one of the best in the comp.
"Do I fear the Storm? I don't. We have got an awesome squad here. We have shown that throughout the year and it is just about building on what we've done and taking it to another level."
Munster reveals plan to target Walsh and Reynolds
Earlier on Tuesday, Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster revealed how enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona will target Walsh, Reynolds and the Broncos' little men. The Storm used the tactic in round 23 last year, with five-eighth Ezra Mam missing 10 tackles.
"Reynolds is the organiser and the young guys are the risk-takers who bring the X-factor - Ezra Mam, Reece Walsh - so he steers the ship around," Munster said. "He's got a good kicking game and that's what they've been lacking the last couple of years as they've always had the talent but needed someone to steer them in the right direction. He will be someone that we will be obviously watching out for and we'll try and get as many big bodies like Nelson (Asofa-Solomona) at him as possible to take his space away."
Munster also dismissed suggestions the Broncos would have their horror record against the Storm on their minds. "There's a rivalry when it comes to the Broncos, going back to Craig Bellamy, John Ribot and Chris Johns who came from Brisbane but it's a record and all records are meant to be broken," he said.
"We need to go out and play our style of footy and not focus on the history books. Most of their players haven't been around the Storm teams who have won so many times at Suncorp, they wouldn't know too much about the history."
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